FORMER MP Luciana Berger has been appointed as the new Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) and will take up her role at the start of next month.
Founded in 2011, MMHA is a coalition of 97 organisations, clinicians, and people with lived experience working together to improve mental health support during pregnancy and postnatally. MMHA has successfully campaigned to address gaps in UK specialist perinatal mental health care. However, despite significant progress, more work is needed to tackle the postcode lottery for mothers, partners, and babies.
Emily Slater, Director of the MMHA said:
“On behalf of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance team and our 97 member organisations, I am thrilled to welcome Luciana Berger to the role of Chair. Luciana has shown her deep commitment to improving the lives of women and families affected by perinatal mental illness and we look forward to working with her.”
As an award-winning campaigner and long-time advocate for the improvement of mental health services and parity between mental and physical health, Luciana Berger brings significant experience, influence, and energy to the MMHA and its Everyone’s Business Campaign.
During her time in parliament, Luciana secured several legislative changes, including calling on the government to expand employer responsibility to include Mental Health First Aiders and successfully amending a bill to introduce a ‘breathing space’ for those in mental health crisis who are struggling with serious debt.
Luciana Berger said:
“I am delighted to have been elected to serve as chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance. Perinatal mental health is an urgent and pressing issue for the whole of society. The standard of care women receive depends on their postcode, and this must end. I look forward to working with MMHA’s members to support women and families, improve standards, and press for world-class mental health services for women before and after the birth of their child.”
Now Managing Director of Public Affairs and Advocacy at Edelman UK, Luciana previously served as the Member of Parliament for Liverpool Wavertree for almost a decade. During her time in the Commons, Berger held prominent front and backbench roles, including as the first-ever Shadow Cabinet Member for Mental Health and member of the Health and Social Care Select Committee.
Dr Alain Gregoire, outgoing Chair and soon-to-be Honorary President of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance said:
“With Luciana as our new Chair, I know that the Maternal Mental Health Alliance will flourish. The powerful advocacy we provide will continue to improve the lives of women and families all over the UK.”
Luciana Berger’s appointment was confirmed by a unanimous vote at a virtual meeting of MMHA members on Thursday 3 September 2020.